Monday, November 13, 2006

The Importance of Writer's Groups

A number of writers use writing groups to help them advance in their skills. I know of some very talented writers who do not belong to any groups, so my stance is not that this is a necessary requirement for great writing. There are, however, some valid reasons to consider joining or starting a writer’s group.

One benefit to a writer’s group is that you have someone to give you direct feedback about your ideas and stories. I think we tend to go one of two directions as writers: we either feel that our work is great or that it is terrible. A peer critique can help identify which parts of a story are great and which ones truly are terrible. Sometimes we’re blind to this when we read our own stuff.

Another reason to join a group is the opportunity to talk about writing. I don’t know anyone else who writes where I work. My wife and closest friends don’t write either. Without a group, I’m unable to converse with people who understand writing. We can share our triumphs and disasters and be on the same page (no pun intended).

Information sharing is another usefulness to the writing group. No two people know the exact same thing, and when we share news and opportunities with one another, we add to the collective knowledge of the group. There’s a responsibility for each of us to learn something meaningful for the benefit of others, but it’s very rewarding to help someone else.

If anything mentioned seems like something you’re in need of, don’t hesitate. Start looking for a group in your area. Or perhaps an online group would work well. As for finding a group, don’t focus solely on ones specific to the fantasy genre, or you may never find a group. Writing transcends genres, and most groups will likely welcome you regardless of what you write. It’s time to get connected.

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